Have I Got A Story For You!

My daughter, born in 1994, is a huge fan of 80’s music. We heard a 1987 song by Pet Shop Boys called It’s A Sin last week on Pandora. I struggled to recall the song while Anne pointed out that the song reminded her of Wild World by Cat Stevens, a 1970 hit. As I listened, I noticed she was right! Although very different in feel and texture, the late 80’s song does have a melody similar to that of the 1970 hit.

Just as I, who played 80’s music on radio throughout that decade, can gain new insight from my teen daughter, you may be able to take guidance from the CEO of a major U.S. company.

In the July 8 Wall Street Journal, Disney head Bob Iger wrote an op-ed piece titled Have I Got A Story For You. The gist of the piece was that with all the technological advances made by Disney animators (drawing by hand and using computers), they have followed Walt Disney’s directives to tell compelling stories.

“Great storytelling still remains the bedrock of great entertainment,” writes Iger.

Telling a story can be a strong way to begin a speech or other presentation. Even if your punch line or analogy is not overly strong, an entertaining story can engage your audience. (When a minister begins a sermon by unexpectedly telling a story of his hike into and out of the Grand Canyon, it may merit closer attention than opening with the reading of scripture.)

When a guest sits down on a talk show host’s couch, one of the key elements of those segments is a story. (Each show’s producers do “pre-interviews” to help determine a guest’s best stories.)

When you run into business associates be ready to share stories of things you did this weekend, where you went, what you ate, what a family member said, what you saw on TV. Storytelling is a large part of how we communicate with one another.

My own story about my daughter’s pop music smarts may or may not strike a chord with you. But I think it may be a better way to open today’s post about storytelling than just launching into the paragraph about Mr. Iger and Mr. Disney.






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